Mendoza School of Business

HP Consultant APCO Built Crisis Business on WorldCom Testimony, Vioxx Suit

Published: August 11, 2010 / Author: Sarah Rabil

APCO Worldwide, the public relations firm that advised Hewlett-Packard Co.’s board after accusations of harassment against its chief executive officer, has handled crises from Merck & Co.’s Vioxx scandal to WorldCom Inc.’s fraud and now is helping Wall Street earn back America’s trust.

HP’s board decided to disclose the allegations against CEO Mark Hurd partly based on advice from APCO, a person with knowledge of the matter said, even as an investigation found he didn’t violate the company’s sexual harassment policy. The board sought Hurd’s resignation after it was found he made inaccurate expense reports.

Prof. James S. O’Rourke stated that while companies should bring in fresh eyes amid threatening events, boards also typically seek advice from lawyers, investment managers and in-house corporate communications.

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